Employment Characteristics of Families Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Friday, April 26, 2013                            USDL-13-0730

Technical information:  (202) 691-6378  *  cpsinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/cps
Media contact:          (202) 691-5902  *  PressOffice@bls.gov


                      EMPLOYMENT CHARACTERISTICS OF FAMILIES -- 2012
 

In 2012, 10.5 percent of families included an unemployed person, down 1.0 percentage point
from 2011, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Of the nation's 80.1 million
families, 80.0 percent had at least one employed member in 2012.

These data on employment, unemployment, and family relationships are collected as part of
the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly sample survey of approximately 60,000
households. Data in this release are annual averages. Families are classified either as
married-couple families or as families maintained by women or men without spouses present.
Unless otherwise noted, families include those without children as well as those with
children under age 18. For further information, see the Technical Note.

Families and Unemployment

The number of families with at least one member unemployed decreased to 8.4 million in
2012 from 9.0 million in 2011. The proportion of families with an unemployed member
decreased to 10.5 percent in 2012. Black and Hispanic families remained more likely to
have an unemployed member in 2012 (16.8 percent and 14.5 percent, respectively) than white
and Asian families (9.5 percent and 9.2 percent, respectively). (See table 1.)

Most families with an unemployed member also had at least one family member who is employed.
Among families with an unemployed member in 2012, 67.5 percent also had an employed family
member, about the same as in 2011. (See table 1.)

Among married-couple families with an unemployed member, the proportion of families with at
least one employed family member was 80.2 percent in 2012, up from 79.2 percent in 2011.
Among families maintained by men (no spouse present) with an unemployed member, 53.3 percent
had an employed member in 2012; for families maintained by women (no spouse present), the
proportion was 45.6 percent. Both proportions were little changed from 2011. (See table 3.)

Families and Employment

The share of families with an employed member edged up to 80.0 percent in 2012 from 79.8
percent in 2011. The likelihood of having an employed family member rose in 2012 for black
and Hispanic families, to 75.4 percent and 84.6 percent, respectively. The likelihood for
white and Asian families showed little change at 80.1 percent and 88.1 percent, respectively.
(See table 1.)

In 2012, families maintained by women with no spouse present remained less likely to have
an employed member (72.4 percent) than married-couple families (81.9 percent) or families
maintained by men with no spouse present (81.1 percent). Both the husband and wife were
employed in 47.4 percent of married-couple families in 2012. The husband was the only
worker in 20.2 percent of married-couple families, and the wife was the only worker in
8.0 percent of these families. (See table 2.)

Families with Children

In 2012, 43.1 percent of all families included children (sons, daughters, step-children,
or adopted children) under age 18. Among the 34.6 million families with children, 87.8
percent had at least one employed parent in 2012, up from 87.2 percent in 2011. The mother
was employed in 67.1 percent of families with children maintained by women with no spouse
present in 2012, and the father was employed in 81.6 percent of families with children
maintained by men with no spouse present. Among married-couple families with children,
96.3 percent had at least one employed parent in 2012. The share of married-couple
families with children where both parents worked was 59.0 percent. (See table 4.)

Mothers

The labor force participation rate--the percent of the population working or looking for
work--for all mothers with children under age 18 was 70.5 percent in 2012, little different
from the prior year. In 2012, the participation rate for married mothers with a spouse
present (68.3 percent) remained lower than the rate for mothers with other marital statuses
(75.2 percent). (Other marital status refers to persons who never married or are widowed,
divorced, separated, or married but living apart from their spouse.) Married mothers were
equally as likely to be employed as mothers with other marital statuses in 2012, but their
unemployment rate was substantially lower--5.4 percent, compared with 14.1 percent for
mothers with other marital statuses. (See table 5.)

Mothers with younger children are less likely to be in the labor force than mothers with
older children. In 2012, the labor force participation rate of mothers with children under
6 years old (64.8 percent) was lower than the rate of those whose youngest child was 6 to
17 years old (75.1 percent). The participation rate of mothers with infants under a year
old was 57.0 percent. Among mothers with infants, there was virtually no difference in the
participation rate of married mothers (57.0 percent) and those with other marital statuses
(56.9 percent). However, the unemployment rate for married mothers of infants, at 5.5
percent, was considerably lower than the rate for mothers with other marital statuses,
at 23.2 percent. (See tables 5 and 6.)



The PDF version of the news release

Table of Contents

Last Modified Date: April 26, 2013